Friday, May 20, 2011

MEDICALIZATION IN ARIZONA: Medicinal Marijuana - No Easy High

According to a local newspaper in Pinal County, Arizona, securing medicalization was only part of the battle to bring medical marijuana to Arizona.  There are still physicians who are resistant to writing prescriptions for medical marijuana, although the article mentions that physicians can and probably will write for Marinol, the pharmaceutically available THC.  Not in any way a substitute for whole plant cannabis, Marinol can be effective for nausea; however as with other oral nausea pharmaceuticals, the difficult task remains of having to ingest medication while vomiting intractably.

Another issue in the Arizona medicalization law, as well as ALL medicalization laws, is the restriction on growing and harvesting personal use plants.  Delaware's medicalization this month saw a complete restriction on private grows, forcing patients into clinics or other state or Big Pharma regulated and run organization.  Last year, four other states medicalized without the right to grow in order to pass a medicalization bill.  Arizona's law states that a medical marijuana patient can only grow 12 plants IF THEY LIVE MORE THAN 25 MILES FROM THE NEAREST DISPENSARY.   Although I understand that some restrictions on growing may be necessary in large urban areas to avoid crime or other undesireable sequelea, such restrictions should be specific and definitively defined so that those who are able to grow safely and securely, can do so.  How far they are from a dispensary should be less important than where the grow area is located, i.e., in a school zone or a business district may not be such a good idea. In Rural areas, and those who live on and own larger lots, for example, should have the right to grow.

The issue of growing is an important issue and right that should not be denied.  Voters who are over-eager to pass medical marijuana bills are agreeing to let the state control their ability to grow the plant, giving up an inalienable right, and giving control to the government and big Pharma. 

A small ray of understanding emerged in the article when it was reported that one interviewed physician, Dr. Hill, admits that because of the existance of cannabis receptors in humans, it is probable that humans evolved with the cannabis plant, and have been using it for thousands of years.  Still, Dr. Hill, an oncologist, states he will not prescribe cannabis to his patients, even though he knows through experience that it does help cancer patients, citing possible Federal retribution, and reflecting the fear factor that the Federal Government can retaliate. 
Although reformers are frustrated at physician's fear and refusal to prescribe, the doctors have good reason to be afraid:  This is not the first time that the government has tricked them when it comes to cannabis.  In 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act allowed physicians to prescribe cannabis to their patients, provided they submitted the proper tax fees and paperwork.  In practice, the requirements were extremely precise and difficult, and even the smallest error would result in large fees, loss of license, and even incarceration.  The American Medical Association recommended then that physicians do not prescribe Cannabis, and claiming loudly there after that cannabis was considered to have "no medicinal benefit."  They have been perpetuating this lie for nearly 75 years. 

To read the article in full go here:

"...the rport of my death was an exaggeration."   --  Mark Twain
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